Offering what officials believe is a more efficient way to communicate with Wright-Patterson Air Force Base Medical Center health care teams, Air Force patients and retirees are scheduled to have access to a new patient portal in June, called “MHS Genesis.”
The system will offer convenient ways to communicate with base physicians and care providers, said Col. Thomas Gifford, chief medical informatics officer at the Wright-Patterson Medical Center.
“It’s going to add a whole bunch of new capabilities and be easier to use for our patients, a lot better for communication with the care teams here in the hospital,” Gifford, who is also a physician, said in a new interview. “We’re really looking forward to it.”
Similar to the “MyChart” system used by the Premier and Kettering health systems in the Dayton area, MHS Genesis offers a way to send secure electronic messages to physicians, request prescription refills, make appointments, check test results and more.
Said Gifford, “We’re no longer using separate systems to look at information and communicate with the physicians and nurses and people in the hospital. They can do that all from the patient portal.”
The system is web-based, so patients can use their phones. The portal will not be active until after June 3, but an account can be created any time.
The Department of Defense has used MHS Genesis since 2017. The plan all along was to complete the rollout of Genesis to all DOD treatment facilities by this year.
Wright-Patterson’s medical center will be among the last in the continental U.S. to use the new system. The center is the second largest Air Force medical center.
“Our staff has been preparing to go live with MHS Genesis for over a year, and we are excited to join the rest of the U.S. military treatment facilities in implementing this new single electronic health record,” Col. Dale Harrell, 88th Medical Group commander, said in a statement. “Service members, retirees and their families will be able to securely access their medical records from any electronic device 24/7 with both their inpatient and outpatient records integrated across the continuum of care, regardless of where in the Department of Defense they receive care.”
The DOD has wrestled with concerns about the system in the past six years. An April 2018 report from the department called the portal “neither operationally effective nor operationally suitable.”
A survey of military health care providers by the Inspector General’s Office found problems, according to a Military Times story last year. Some 260 providers identified inaccurate patient health information in the system, the Times said.
Gifford is confident problems have been resolved.
“From where I sit, from what I see, we’re pretty excited to get it,” he said.
However, Wright-Patterson is cautioning that, at least initially, patients can expect longer wait times. Based on industry averages, it takes about 90 days for providers to adjust to the new system and return to normal wait times, the base said in a March 15 release.
If a primary care appointment is needed between May and July, patients should make it as soon as possible, the base is advising.
The medical center is asking patients to prepare for the new system. Patients who are new to the system are encouraged to register for access at https://patientportal.mhsgenesis.health.mil.
Patients can also access online health records by using a Common Access Card or Defense Finance and Accounting Service account credentials, the base said.
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